I raised my brows. “Remember what she said — it’s only worth something when you sell it.”
“Come on,” David said, “I didn’t give you a hard time about those colored pencils, even though you never draw. And what about the electronic piano you haven’t played since we moved?” I sighed my understanding and returned my attention to the heap I’d been working on.
“Yoo-hoo,” I trilled a few minutes later. When David looked my way, I waved an old tennis racquet back and forth. “When was the last time you played?” David’s eyes went skyward. “You don’t remember, do you. Okay. Goodwill bag?”
David hung his head and, in the softest voice he’d used all day, he said, “I know it makes no sense, but I can’t get rid of it, not yet.” Before I could ask why, he continued, “It’s not particularly sentimental, and if we do start playing, I know that any cheap, modern racket at the store is probably better than that one. It’s just that I remember playing with that racquet, and a part of me thinks that I won’t be able to play well with another one.” That was more introspection and explanation than I’d expected, so I relented and set the racquet not in, but beside the trash bag.
After three hours, we called it a day. There was still an overwhelming amount to organize, and plenty of things from which we needed to detach if we were to clear some serious space for all those other things we hang on to and want to put there. After he lowered his dusty body into the car, David said, “You know what I just thought? Imagine how liberating it would be to completely purge everything.”
“Mother Teresa did that; she seemed pretty peaceful,” I said.
“I mean, to just completely let go. Of all of it.”
“That’s all very Zen, beh beh,” I said. Then, in an impulsive flash, I actually thought it was a good idea. “Let’s do it, then. Seriously, I’ll get rid of yours and you get rid of mine, and that way it won’t be so hard, and we’ll just lose everything in both storage areas.” I could tell from the manic energy coursing through my veins that my eyes were probably wet and wide, my nostrils most likely flaring.
For a beat, and not one instant more, David seemed to consider my proposal. Then, looking at me the way you’re supposed to look at someone who just said something preposterous, he said, “Now, that’s just crazy talk.”